Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Run-Away Summer

So summer begun and now is almost over in what seems like only the blink of an eye! 

The kids have spent most of the summer pootling about, playing with friends and enjoying the sunshine. I have been very busy working on a plan for next years Youth Church, (which has consumed a LOT of time & still needs a bit more). I am also picking up the Teen Girls Group and need to have some thinking time about that. I also STILL have some of last years marking to do (the big boys' work) and I need to do a little planning for this year's Home Ed - not that much will change tbh, although I will be missing one child of course :( . No need to fix what ain't broken :D

One week of the holiday was consumed by almost all of us being involved in running (or attending) our church's Pyramid Rock holiday club. It was well attended and lots of fun (for everyone), but as always with these things, thoroughly exhausting!

DD has started back at Gym and been moved up to the 'County' group ~ which means more hours and more competitions. We've decided to ease him in gently, otherwise it'll be twice the hours all in one go! Looking forward to seeing him reach his potential ~ he definitely has some!

Last weekend Paul & I were up in Preston for a friend's wedding and decided to stay overnight. Fortunately my Mum is here atm, so she was volunteered to stop over with the brood, although Bugs and Minnie agreed to do the cooking. Paul booked a rather special room and we celebrated almost 18 years of marriage with a night off! 

The next day we went for a lovely long walk together in the Ribble Valley, before heading home to the tribe! 

Bank Holiday Monday, we took the children over to Tatton Park for the day. It was more fun for the younger ones (it's hard to find things that appeal to everyone these days), but at least they all got to have another go at some archery ~ which is fast becoming a family favourite activity ~ and we did build a rather excellent den together. 

Of course, on the return to the car it refused to start! Apparently the start motor had given up the ghost, so the ranger gave us a tug to get us going and we got home OK. It's fixed now, and thankfully was paid for under warranty :D

Bugs enrolled at college yesterday, and is now the proud owner of a student card! He catches the bus for his first official day next Wednesday!  It seems they have him down to do English GCSE (sitting in June '14)  & a Numeracy proficiency class (testing Jan '14), as well as his BTEC. No big deal and at least he'll have some bits of paper to his name! I'm wondering about asking them if he can sit both in January though, rather than have to study for a whole year for something that he has effectively already achieved ("working very well at level 2 (GCSE level)" was their own assessment of his English).

I know that summer is almost done, when the swallows have fledged and gone (last week), the Buddleia is heaving with butterflies & bees on a last ditch feast, and the blackberries are ripe for picking. A couple more weeks and I'll be harvesting the Damsons and not long after the Elderberries, signalling to us all that Autumn is here... I'm never quite ready for summer to end, but I love that I have learnt, by living here, to read the seasons by nature's flora and wildlife. ;D

There's a gazillion more pictures on Flickr if anyone is interested ...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Feeling Poetic

This last week I have spent WAY too many hours working in front of screens.

This morning I sat down to do the same, but I briefly picked up a pen and 'doodled' a poem. I quite liked it...

Small & Big

Once, I was small,
Now I am big.
I remember small,
I forget now I’m big.
Small was adventurous,
Big is responsible.
But down inside the adventure still lives!
Small was slender,
Big is big.
Small dreamed of the future,
Big romances the past.
Small never thought of growing old,
Big considers it often.
And doesn’t very much want to go there.


Small wasn’t really happy
Big is happy to the core.
Small was often lonely,
Big is seldom alone.
Small was hard,
Big is softer.
But still has edges that need smoothing down!
Small feared singleness and baroness,
Big is blessed in marriage, with a quiver-full.
Small searched for security,
Big nestles in it arms.
Small sang for comfort,
Big sings for joy.
Far rather the song of today than of yesterday.


Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Fly By Summer...

I can't believe we are already almost into the second week of August! How is the summer flying by so very fast :(

But we've been busy ~ doing inside things and outside things...

I have spent a few day clearing out piles of clothes from the landing (into massive boxes) and last Saturday, Paul and I had a MAJOR tidy up (and re-arrange) in the garage. We didn't throw away very much, in all honesty - just one run to the tip, but we did get to a point where we now know what we have and consider none of it to be a waste of space! And I can actually get to the boxes of clothes that the younger boys will grow into!

The children have mostly played together a lot. Just yesterday, Joel invented a game ~ 'spoon football' ~ played like table-football with spoons! Two teams and two goalies required + plus lots of spoons and a robust table!!

At the beginning of summer I invested in new skipping ropes, French skipping games, Cats Cradle and a book of '101 ways to play with marbles'. All have been used, some more extensively than others. The marbles book only just came, and it's been a little wet the last few days, but it looks fun :D

We took the Children to Wheelock Hall farm one afternoon, while Paul's parents were here ~ but it was one SERIOUSLY hot day and we didn't last all that long. Perhaps we'll go back another cooler day :D. Chip loved the animals, especially the cows, there's a great play park there with climbing frames and go-karts (but I was avoiding the sun, so no pictures of that sorry) and they have a hay-stack in the barn, just for the kids to play on. It's a great place to go and only cost £2 per child! :D

PLUS they sell delicious ice-cream!!

We have been down to the village brook to play & build dams ~ a great way to cool off on hot days!

And played crazy roundabout games in the park...

We've played with the Crazy-Daisy in the garden (on seriously hot days).

and we've BBQ'd with friends & filled up their bird table with stones! :D

The children have 'mummified' each other ~ just for fun!

And we've been to the beach in the POURING rain (just after the pictures, although it was drizzling even then) ~ fun in a not-so-fun-but-you-have-to-laugh kind of way!

Taz has embarked on building himself a go-kart to keep himself busy.

And DD is working hard on his gym conditioning (whilst they are on a break) and is on a mission to get his splits (box and front) to the floor by term start  ~ he is SO nearly there on both counts!

Ten Minutes From Home: Starwars & Splits &emdash; _DSC9537
Ten Minutes From Home: Starwars & Splits &emdash; _DSC9541
He's not the only one on a mission either. If you follow me on Facebook, you will know I have decided to swim myself fit (and hopefully thinner). Dieting is too hard, so I'm just eating better and exercising more. I've managed to get from struggling to do 10 lengths (300m) three weeks ago, to swimming 45 lengths in 45 minutes yesterday and feeling I could have carried on if Paul wasn't waiting in the car-park for me! I am determined to get to 60 lengths (a mile), three times a week, and be doing it in an hour by the end of summer. I think it's achievable. But then the outside pool (which is open all the time) closes and I will have to fit swimming around the craziness of term-time again. I am even considering joining the gym, but I'm not there in my head yet!

The other great thing about the swimming is that TP & Lilo often come with me and are working on their stamina too. I have set Lilo a target ~ if she can swim 10 lengths by the end of summer she can stop having lessons. Currently she can swim only 3, but I think she will do it. :D

Next week we are all busy with the church holiday club ~ Pyramid Rocks ~ and then my Mum will be here for a few weeks.  Just now TP has a friend to stay for a couple of nights and the biggest three are down at the church helping set up for the club. The youngest ones are about to watch a video I think, but they have been playing well all morning. I am about to embark on the ever-dreaded mountain of marking before summer actually runs out on me ~ I'm going to sit in the garden to do it I think!

Holiday 2013 ~ Part 7 ~ Ipswich Park & After...

This was the last day of our holidays and we began it by driving up to a park in Ipswich to meet up with some of our home-ed friends.
The park was lovely and it was really nice to have a brief catch up :)

After a good cool off in the Splash Zone,

the older children went off in a big group and hunted for Geocaches. They successfully found one, but the other was illusive (possibly moved, as it hadn't been found in a while apparently). For whatever reason though, I just didn't take many pictures :(

After this we headed into Colchester because the children were all desperate to go to the Leisure Pool there. We were pleased to see some extra bits added since last time we were there and we all had a lovely time. Chip was a bit hesitant at first (he'd not been swimming a great deal up to this point in his life), but the lovely warm spa pool sold it to him quick enough :D And after that he just warmed to the whole idea and had a lot of fun. We stayed in the pool a good hour and a half and by the time we were all dressed and ready, it was getting well on towards tea time as we walked up through the park.

We had already decided that tonight would be the night we went to Sloppy Joe's ~ which was always one of our favourite places to eat when we lived in Colchester and we were SO happy to see it was still alive and well! The meal was as amazing as ever and almost everyone ate everything! The children all loved it just as much as they always have :D So it still remains one of our favourite places to eat as a family...

Friday, August 02, 2013

Holiday 2013 ~ Part 6 ~ Colchester Zoo

For me (and mine) there is only one zoo that I consider worth the expense of visiting and that is Colchester. It really is THE best zoo :D But Thursday's excursion was made all the better by the very fact of it being FREE!!! Yes, my wonderful friends are Platinum members, and with that they get one complementary pass per membership ~ in total they had 9 & Chip goes free anyway ~ AWESOME!!

So we met them all there and trooped 23 children around the zoo (Chip, Bugs & J are not in the picture)!

[Just for posterity, here's a couple of pictures from the previous times we've had this crowd together, some of whom weren't even born or just aren't in these pictures!!


(The younger baby here is DD)

It amazes me how, despite the years and the miles, these children & mine remain firm friends. The internet may have it's downsides, but this is truly on of it's greatest positives :D. I wish we could get them together more often, but it's hard... 
For most of the day I handed my camera to Bugs, so I'll link to his pictures when he publishes them. Suffice to say, the zoo has changed massively since last time we were there, but is brilliant as ever. 

We finished the day back at Lizzie's with hotdogs and chips! The children played for hours, while we laughed and chatted together. A couple of the children (not mine) were feeling the effects of the sun, but thankfully recovered as the evening wore on. It had been a VERY hot day!

A brilliant, brilliant day, with too many goodbye tears :(

& here's today's slideshow of a few animals and lots of kids!